New Penalty Enforced On Drunk Drivers

Photo by Samuele Errico Piccarini on Unsplash

( – A new Texas law that went into effect on Friday will make drunken drivers in Texas pay child support if they cause a crash that takes the life of a child’s parent or guardian.

Bentley’s Law, as Texas House Bill 393 is referred to, was initially filed last year on Nov. 14. Texas Gov. Greg Abbott then signed the bill on June 2.

Abbot wrote on X, formerly called Twitter, that the death of any parent is tragic, but that when it happens because of a drunk driver, it is “especially heinous.” He added that he was proud to be signing this bill into law as it would ensure that offenders would start paying child support for the children of those who had lost their lives because of their actions.

The law stated that those responsible for intoxicated manslaughter will be required to pay child support until the child reaches the age of 18 or finishes high school. It will be up to the court to determine how much will need to be paid in child support, with many different factors being considered, including the educational and medical needs of the child and the childcare costs. The child’s standard of living before the accident will also be considered.
Those who cannot make the payments because of incarceration could still be eligible for a payment plan. The law further notes that payments will not start being made later than the first anniversary of the defendant being released from the facility.

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